Artist of the Month February 2024


Mary Ruden

Seymour, Tennessee, USA

Mary Ruden has been doing Public Art projects for over a decade; her recent work includes realistic bronze statues of famous women of Tennessee, that have been displayed in museums and in City Hall.   Her work is in  state parks, government buildings, and has been at the US Botanic Garden in Washington DC to honor the Centennial anniversary of the National Parks. She illustrated a guide book on Native Orchids and sculpted a Lady Slipper Orchid in bronze.

How and when did you start creating art?

Since childhood I  did ceramics, sketching and painting. I  earned a BFA degree in Art and obtained another degree in Science. It helped me to work in a realistic style and  understand anatomy and science.

What media and genres do you work in?

Sculpture is my main focus: realism that is built with clay and later cast in bronze. I also do contemporary sculpture. Botanical illustration is my favorite 2D media, with watercolor, pencils, charcoal.

Who or what are your influences?

Auguste Rodin  is my favorite sculptor and a master of anatomy. Dutch Masters are my favorite botanical and still life painters.

What was your inspiration for

Lizzie Crozier, French Suffragist: Bronze


“Keeping history alive through art”: By depicting real people who have made significant contributions to society through art, we can keep their legacy alive forever.

Describe your creative process?

After sketching the  piece I have in mind to do, I rough it in by sculpting a 3D model made of an oil-based clay over a wire mesh  armature. Then I proceed to make the actual work of art to scale.

What are you working on currently?

I am sculpting a bust of a famous Cherokee “Beloved Woman”, Nancy Ward, from Tennessee. She is considered a patriot of the American Revolutionary War with her peace agenda; she saved many lives.

What are your near/long term goals as an artist?

I hope to keep the memory alive of several people  who changed history for the better, with my  works of art. Art should stand the test of time.  Sculpture is one of those art forms that will last.

Where can people view/purchase your work (gallery, website, etc)?

Open Imagination

Lizzie Crozier, French Suffragist: Bronze

Open Imagination

Mary Patton, circa 1780: Bronze

Open Imagination

Historic Bird Dog of Sevierville, TN: Bronze (permanently across from courthouse)

Open Imagination

Anne Davis, Mother of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Bronze

Open Imagination

Historic TN Ladies: Charcoal on Paper, life-size, mounted to foam core

Open Imagination

Einstein: hand engraved into Aluminum

Artist Website
All Images @ Mary Ruden
All Rights Reserved

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